How To Remove Liquid Nails From Drywall Just In 4 Steps

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Written by: Mohammad Sameer

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If you’ve ever done any home improvement projects, you likely know how useful construction adhesives like Liquid Nails can be for installing trim, tiles, or securing drywall.

However, these strong adhesives can be extremely difficult to remove once they’ve dried. Trying to pry off Liquid Nails from drywall often damages the drywall’s paper facing.

Fortunately, there are some simple methods you can use to remove dried Liquid Nails without ruining your walls.

In this article, we’ll explain how to soften the adhesive and safely remove it using common household items like a putty knife, heat gun, petroleum jelly, and mineral spirits.

Whether you need to remove old trim, update tile, or salvage drywall after a renovation has gone wrong, these techniques will allow you to easily remove Liquid Nails and other construction adhesives without further damaging your walls. Read on to learn how!

By following these proven methods, you can smoothly remove Liquid Nails and adhesive residue from your drywall quickly and easily.

Let’s get started!

Materials Needed

  • Heat gun or blow dryer
  • Putty knife or paint scraper
  • Mineral spirits
  • Rags
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves

Before You Start

  • Protect the surrounding area with a drop cloth. Liquid nail removal can get messy.
  • Make sure to wear safety glasses and gloves for protection.
  • For easier removal, try to remove liquid nails when it’s still fresh, within 12 hours of application. After it has fully cured, removal becomes more difficult.

How to Remove Liquid Nails from Drywall

How To Remove Liquid Nails From Drywall

Liquid nails are a type of construction adhesive often used to attach trim, panels, or other materials to walls. While liquid nails provide a strong bond, they can be difficult to remove fully once dried.

Removing liquid nails from drywall takes some work, but it can be done with the right techniques and tools.

Step 1: Apply Heat

Apply Heat

Heat is very effective for softening cured liquid nails. Use a heat gun or blow dryer to heat the adhesive. Move the heat continuously over the drywall until the adhesive softens and becomes pliable.

Be careful not to overheat the area as too much heat can damage the drywall’s paper face.

Step 2: Scrape Away Adhesive

Scrape Away Adhesive

Once heated and softened, use a putty knife to scrape and pry away the liquid nails from the drywall. You may need to reheat the adhesive multiple times as you work to fully remove it.

Scrape slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the wall underneath. A plastic putty knife is preferable to metal for drywall as it reduces scratching.

An electric heat gun on a low setting is ideal for softening the adhesive while minimizing the risk of damage to the wall.

Step 3: Use Mineral Spirits To Clean

Use Mineral Spirits To Clean

Once you’ve removed the main adhesive from drywall, wet a rag with mineral spirits to wipe away any remaining residue. Mineral spirits help dissolve and clean off the stubborn leftover adhesive.

Be sure to use mineral spirits in a well-ventilated area and avoid any open flames, as it’s flammable.

You may need to apply a bit of petroleum jelly to remove dried adhesive in textured areas. Gently rub it in and then wipe it off along with the adhesive.

Step 4: Sand and Skim Coat if Needed

Sand and Skim Coat if Needed

If any gouges remain after liquid nail removal, fill them with joint compound. Once dry, sand smooth and use a wide drywall knife to skim coat the area to blend it with the surrounding wall.

Prime and paint once finished for an even repair.


  • Try applying baby oil or WD-40 to help soften old liquid nails and make it easier to scrape off.
  • For stubborn dried adhesive, reapply heat and let it sit for 5-10 minutes to fully penetrate before scraping.
  • Avoid using sharp metal scrapers which can cut into the paper exterior of drywall.
  • Work slowly and carefully to avoid damaging the wall surface.
  • Wear safety glasses and chemical-resistant gloves when using mineral spirits.

With some perseverance and the right techniques, you can successfully remove pesky liquid nails from drywall without damage.

Just take your time and be cautious when applying heat and scraping. In no time, you’ll have a smooth, clean wall ready for your next project.

Does water dissolve nail glue?

No, water does not dissolve nail glue. Nail glue is a type of adhesive that is made of cyanoacrylate, which is a strong chemical that is not soluble in water.

However, there are some solvents that can dissolve nail glue, such as acetone, nail polish remover, and rubbing alcohol.

If you need to remove nail glue, you can try soaking the affected area in warm water for a few minutes.

This will soften the glue and make it easier to remove. You can then use a cotton swab or cloth soaked in acetone or nail polish remover to wipe away the remaining glue.

can you paint over liquid nails?

Yes, you can paint over liquid nails, but there are a few things you need to keep in mind. make sure that the liquid nails have completely cured.

This can take up to 24 hours. Once the liquid nails are cured, you can sand them smoothly to create a better surface for painting. You can then apply a coat of primer and paint as usual.

Can I use liquid nails on plasterboard?

Yes, liquid nails can be used on plasterboard. However, it is important to note that liquid nails are a very strong adhesive and can be difficult to remove once it dries.

If you are using liquid nails on the plasterboard, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully and to take precautions to avoid damaging the plasterboard.

Here are some tips for using liquid nails on plasterboard:

  • Use a small amount of liquid nails. You only need a small amount of liquid nails to create a strong bond. Too much liquid nails can make it difficult to remove the adhesive later.
  • Apply the liquid nails evenly. Make sure to spread the liquid nails evenly over the surface of the plasterboard. This will help to ensure that the adhesive bonds well to the surface.
  • Let the liquid nails dry completely before attaching anything to the plasterboard. This will help to prevent the adhesive from coming loose.
  • If you need to remove the adhesive later, use a heat gun or solvent to soften it first. Be careful not to damage the plasterboard when removing the adhesive.

Will hydrogen peroxide remove nails?

No, hydrogen peroxide will not remove nails. It is a common misconception that hydrogen peroxide can be used to remove nails, but this is not the case.

Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant and antiseptic, and it can be used to clean and sanitize nails, but it will not dissolve or break down the nails themselves.

If you are looking for a way to remove nails, there are a few different methods that you can use. One option is to use a nail polish remover that contains acetone.

Acetone is a solvent that can dissolve the nail polish, and it can also help to loosen the nails themselves. Another option is to use a heat gun or a blow dryer to heat the nails until they become soft and pliable.

Once the nails are soft, you can use a pair of pliers or a nail file to remove them.


What if the liquid nails is old and dried?

If the liquid nails is old and dried, they will be more difficult to remove. You can try using a heat gun or a solvent to soften the adhesive, but it may still be necessary to scrape away some of the drywall.

Can I use other solvents to remove liquid nails?

Yes, there are other solvents that you can use to remove liquid nails, such as mineral spirits, acetone, and paint thinner. However, these solvents can be harmful to your health and the environment, so it is important to use them with caution.

What if I damage the drywall?

It is possible to damage the drywall when removing liquid nails. If you are careful, you can minimize the damage by using a heat gun or solvent to soften the adhesive before scraping. However, if the liquid nails is old and dried, or if you are not careful, it is possible to gouge or crack the drywall.


As you can see, removing dried Liquid Nails doesn’t have to be an impossible task. With some simple tools like a putty knife, heat gun, baby oil or mineral spirits, you can soften and remove the adhesive without ruining your drywall.

The key is to go slowly, don’t try to pry it off forcefully. Apply heat to soften the adhesive first, then gently scrape off the residue. For especially stubborn spots, let the mineral spirits or baby oil soak in for 10-15 minutes before scraping.

With a little time and patience, you can eliminate sticky adhesive messes and save your drywall’s paper facing. No need to cut away and replace damaged drywall or live with frustrating leftover adhesive.

We hope these techniques help you successfully tackle that remodelling project or DIY repair. Remember to use caution when handling heat guns, mineral spirits, and other chemicals. With the proper safety gear and these removal methods, you can take down dried Liquid Nails and restore your walls to their original smooth finish.

For more home improvement tips and tricks, be sure to check out our DIY section. Happy remodelling!

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About Mohammad Sameer

My name is Mohammad Sameer, the founder of SoundproofGears. My hypersensitive hearing turned me into a lifelong seeker of silence. After years of research, I've become an expert on soundproofing techniques and materials. In November 2022 I launched this site to share my knowledge and help others find acoustic sanctuary. About More